You have the right to claim your gender identity! The world is changing, and although not everyone is accepting, more and more people are coming to realize that gender is not a cut-and-dry issue.
Being trans is increasingly in the mainstream. People now see that being born as one gender doesn’t mean that you will feel right in that gender for your entire life. People now realize that gender is a spectrum. Moreover, you may find that even with this interpretation of gender as a spectrum, you don’t identify with any aspect of that male-female spectrum.
At various stages of life, you may find that you have questions and challenges that arise in relation to your gender identity. Perhaps you want hormone therapy and a letter of support for your gender transition surgery. Maybe you simply want to work through relationship challenges that have arisen as a result of your being trans or another gender identity. Or perhaps you just know that your relationship with your own gender is in transition and you want to gain a deeper understanding of where you are at with it today.
Understanding Gender Identity
Understanding gender identity is complex. We know that gender isn’t as simple as being male or female. In fact, if you draw a line with each of those polarities on either side, and you ask people in a group to mark a spot along the spectrum that feels right for them, the majority of people will end up somewhere in the middle. Increasingly, some people realize that they don’t fall anywhere on that spectrum, and they are working to identify an entirely different relationship with gender.
Wherever you land (or don’t) on the spectrum, you might have to reckon with your gender identity at some point, or many points, along the way. So many factors contribute to how we understand our gender identity. Race, class, dis/ability, sexual orientation, and age are some of the lenses through which we understand what gender means to others, which informs our sense of what our gender means to us. Because society accepts cis-gendered people more readily than trans people, those whose gender identity isn’t the same as their gender assigned at birth may have to grapple with these questions more publicly.
Understanding your gender identity is ultimately about understanding yourself.
However, being trans or going through a gender transition often means explaining yourself to the people in your life. Therefore, understanding your gender identity can also mean working to understand how society views you and what role that plays in your own self-acceptance. It’s a nuanced, subtle, multi-layered, and very personal experience.
What Is Gender Transition?
If you ask the average person what a gender transition is then they’ll probably say something about how it relates to being trans and having surgery so that your outsides match your insides. While there’s some truth to that, it’s certainly not the whole story. Gender transition is a process, and it’s as emotional and psychological as it is physical.
If you’re going through a gender transition, then you might be processing what gender means to you. Although some people clearly know their gender identity from a very young age, many people go through a process of figuring it out.
You may go through different stages of realization, where you start to notice different truths about yourself that relate to gender.
This can go on for years, and sometimes it can be comfortable whereas other times it can present challenges. Your gender transition starts the moment your mind starts trying to figure out what your true gender identity is.
The gender transition is your personal journey.
It’s what happens to you on the inside. However, there’s also an external aspect. Your gender transition may include both social and physical revelations and alterations. For example, if you change your name to reflect your gender, that’s part of your gender transition. Gender transition might also include changes in wardrobe, makeup, hairstyles, voice, affectation, behavior, and pronoun usage. Your gender transition may or may not include hormones and/or surgery. It might include legal changes including getting new birth records that reflect your true gender.
Therapy to Help You on Your Journey
Many people mistakenly assume that you go to therapy because something is wrong with you. That’s not the case at all. No matter where you are in your gender identity journey, you’re exactly where you need to be right now. There’s nothing wrong with who you are or where you are in this process. However, life is challenging, and the gender identity process can be particularly challenging for some people. When life challenges us, it’s a sign of strength and resourcefulness to ask for help.
Get the Help You Need Today
As therapists, we are happy to help you and support you on your gender identity journey. If you want hormone therapy and/or surgical procedures, we can support you in that, including writing the necessary professional letters to help you on that journey. However, we don’t have any agenda, so we aren’t going to tell you that you need those things. There are many different ways to approach gender identity, and we wholeheartedly believe that you are the one who knows what’s best for you. We want to help you work through any conflicts or questions that you might have, assist you in challenges that might arise socially or professionally, and provide the resources you need at every step along the way.
Reach out to us so we can learn more about you and how we can be helpful to you right now.